What can I cut/add in? I really wish I had more time....
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Oct 8, 2012 12:53 PM Last Post By: pizo
Oct 7, 2012 12:07 PM
What can I cut/add in? I really wish I had more time....I'm heading to Myanmar in November, like apparently a gazillion other people it seems. I know I'm a bit late to the planning game here which could make things difficult but it is what it is.
I'm having issues with my current plans and am hoping someone can give me some advice.
My current (tentative) plan is as follows:
Day 1: Bangkok to Mandalay via an early flight
Day 2: Mandalay
Day 3: Possibly take the boat to Bagan or maybe go to Monywa or elsewhere close then go to Bagan from there
Days 4 - 6: Bagan
Day 7: Travel to Kalaw (I'm hoping to fly but am thinking it's more likely I'll be sitting on a bus)
Day 8: Kalaw/surrounding area
Days 9-11: Trek in the area
Days 12-13: Inle Lake (the balloon festival!)
Day 14: Either Inle Lake and fly to Yangon OR sit on a bus again (given the festival a bus is likely) Maybe the train for the scenery? Or a train/bus combo?
Day 15: Yangon
Day 16: Yangon
Day 17: head to the Golden Rock. There's a full moon that night and apparently it's pretty interesting when there's a full moon?
Day 18: head back to Yangon early morning and fly back to Bangkok late in the afternoon
Now here's my issues with my current plan. I'm basically doing what the guidebook "tells" me to do. I know there's a reason for that, the big 4 are the big 4 for a reason, I wouldn't go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower or Rome the Colosseum, but at the same time there are SO many places in Myanmar that sound incredible. Hsipaw for instance, I would love to go there but I can't figure out HOW to fit it in or even if it's possible. Cut out Mandalay and squeeze days from Bagan and Inle Lake? Is trying to squeeze in Hsipaw attempting too much?
I know, I know, I can always come back. And that's true but I don't know when that will happen. I adored Cambodia and there's so many places I didn't go to because "I'll come back" and now it's been over a decade and things have changed there so much. I wish I'd gone to Myanmar back in 2003 when I traveled around SEA but I didn't. i had all the time in the world then. Now I'm wishing I had a lot more than 18 days.
Oct 7, 2012 12:26 PM
1We have 28 days and - I agree it's a bit of a struggle to fit it all in. I think we will be going with "3 out of 4 ain't bad". We fly into Yangon and out of Mandalay - and it's likely that we may not get to Mandalay except to fly out. I went to Cambodia in 05 - I went Angkor - but the bits that I remember best were places like Kampot which re-defined sleepy. At the end of the day if we run out of time so be it - it's one of the reasons I haven't booked more than the first few days in Yangon.
We are going to head to Moulmein via train - south to Sitwe, back via Hpa-An and Golden Rock and Bago (which probably be at least 10 days)- and then we will head north from there, probably Pyay or Thazi depending on whether we are going to Bagan or Inle.
Oct 7, 2012 12:38 PM
2I think what I'm really struggling with is I do not want to cut out Bagan OR Inle Lake totally, I love temples and the lake (and the balloon festival) sound incredible as well. I could shave a day or two here or there which is why I'm thinking maybe cutting out Mandalay altogether and just using it as a fly in destination (at this point I have not booked ANYTHING so I can switch everything around). Hsipaw sounds so intriguing though.....Kentung and Mrauk U as well but I know both those are impossible for this trip given the time I've got and the whole government banning foreigners from Rakhing state.
Oct 7, 2012 11:04 PM
3Your intinerary is fine for a first time, the four places have a very different aspect about them and each one is the equivalent of a Taj Mahal/Angor Wat/Pyramids/Great Wall etc. Really must see. Just one minor thing with your planning, re boat to Bagan, it doesnt run every day, so as soon as you lob into Mandalay, check with a booking office about schedules and then you can plan. It wasnt running the day I'd planned to head off, so I went via Monywa.
Oct 8, 2012 9:20 AM
4To each his/her own. Jon apparently experienced something in Mandalay that really impressed him. I found Mandalay interesting.. I'm really glad to have seen the Mahamuni Buddha and we loved Sagaing, but I did not find Mandalay compelling in the way I found Inle or Bagan or Mrauk U. It doesn't hurt to edit your itinerary and save some places for next time. Personally, I'd much rather take the time to really experience a place rather than skim over all of someone else's "must-see."
Oct 8, 2012 12:53 PM
5Thanks for the replies everyone. I agree Cassiecat, often it's better to go fewer places and spend a bit more time rather than rush, rush, rush. However, at the same time I'm wondering, given how many more visitors the country is getting, if I shouldn't go see somewhere like Hsipaw while it's still off the main tourist trail. i haven't been of course but I can't see that a city will change that much with more tourists whereas a smaller area will.
I've re-worked the plans a bit:
Day 1: fly in Mandalay early morning, spend the day
Day 2: early bus to Hsipaw
Day 3-4 Hsipaw
Day 5: Travel to Bagan. I might try to fly but when I looked at flights nothing seemed to line up.
Days 6-8: Bagan
Day 9: Travel to Inle Lake, again maybe flying but likely the bus
Days 10-14: Inle Lake
Day 15: Plane, Train, or Automobile (bus) down to Yangon
Day 16: Yangon
Day 17: Golden Rock
Day 18: Back to Yangon and then late flight to BKK
I SO wish I could go to Mrauk U! The pictures I've googled look incredible.
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